A Toronto man has filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against Air Canada, claiming the airline "flagged" him for security reasons and prevented him from taking a domestic flight three years ago.
Shahid Mahmood, a Canadian citizen and a Muslim, was attempting to take the short hop from Vancouver to Victoria for a friend's wedding in 2004. He bought an Air Canada ticket.
"The person behind the counter told me specifically that I would not be allowed to board. My Chilean-born wife was told she could actually purchase a ticket and go on," he told CBC News.
Since then, Mahmood has been trying to find out why his name was on a security list. He says he was "a little bit shocked and stunned … [I] don't expect this to happen to a citizen of the country."
Mahmood says the RCMP, Transport Canada and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service all say they had no involvement.
Nicole Chrolavicius, Mahmood's lawyer, says the case raises serious issues that she wants the Canadian Human Rights Commission to examine.
"We have a Muslim man denied entry onto a domestic Air Canada flight — a Canadian citizen born in Canada," said Chrolavicius.
The lawyer adds that the treatment of Muslim-Canadians in the face of national security concerns should be of interest to all Canadians. "We want to know why Mr. Mahmood was flagged for security reason. We'd like the ability to correct any misinformation that Air Canada has."
A spokesman for Air Canada said the airline can't comment on specifics.
At the time Mahmood attempted to get on the flight, Canada did not have a "no fly list."
One was officially introduced more than a year later.